The NULL Solution = Episode 47

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The NULL Solution = Episode 47

…Skaldic has chosen his own path, he chooses the Null way…

CHAPTER FIVE

Null Not Void

 In times of doubt, when what she sees does not compute, Deimostra McKinney will pursue it to the point of understanding. Just why the Null are labeled as inferior eludes her. And why do the so-called Gifted have the right to lord over them. As far as she can tell the Null she has met are as pleasant, maybe even more genuine than their counterparts.

It is time for Cerella to finish the subject she hurriedly brushed aside when the Null first met the Space Family McKinney. At the time, ⃝    was the topic that dominated any discussion that shed light on the Null and their secluded Tower.

That Deimostra is a societal infant and that she can identify injustice is telling for sure.

“It has always been so Deimostra. It has never been an issue. They are not intuitive of the mind. They are inferior. They are well cared for. They lack for nothing. They are Null.”

“And yet Eridanus’ welfare has been in Skaldic’s capable control until the time we got back,” she takes exception to inferiority.

Skaldic has chosen his own path. He chooses the Null way.

“Then why weren’t we banished to our own tower or the Null Tower when stepped off the NEWFOUNDLANDER? You must have thought us to be less-than-nothing. Stowaways on your precious property… that’s what we were.”

“It was Celeste who convinced us that you were intelligent beings. She communicated in the Olde Language and you were not considered a threat to us.”

“There, don’t you get it Cerella? Why can’t the Null learn what we learned? Or why do they even need to?”

“We have the left old behind and have embraced the new. The Null have no interest in the ways of the Gifted.”

Celeste is near, picks up on her daughter’s argument discussion and adds her perspective. “On Earth, we had people we called slaves. They were savages from the wilds of the continent Africa. They were bought and sold like a commodity… the Null are not slaves.”

“But until The Gifted fell silent, the Null were not allowed out of their tower, like they have some strange disease. They aren’t slaves, but there is a distinct separation going on here.”

Mother raises both arms and shrugs, “She has a good point Cerella.”

Defeating centuries of perception is like running into a brick wall; the inexorable force meets the immovable object.

“All but Skaldic and his attendant will be permitted outside the Null Tower.”

And that, is as they say, is that.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 47


page 50

The NULL Solution = Episode 43

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The NULL Solution = Episode 43

…It’s like we’re getting dragged into the future…

–All this atomic hoo-ha does not go unnoticed in in the 51 states called America. With the possible exception of Puerto Rico, Washington State, North Dakota, Colorado and the other 29 states whose marijuana aura spares them much worry, dusty bomb shelter doors have been opened for the first time since the beginning of the Cold War.

Texas is still part of the U.S. and of course their bomb shelters are bigger, easily big enough to lodge the NASA staff, which has had a front-row seat for the dastardly doings of those hasty Koreans.

Words are few at GLC, though exhales resound in unison.

“Can you say ‘overreaction’?” You can count on Gus McKinney to cut-to-the-quick.

No one in this group could have predicted that UKP would unleash a missile barrage in response to a single incident involving the mysterious Lorgan.

“You reap what you sow.” Former ally Fletcher Fitch gets a manner of satisfaction. Maybe now the death squads that have h(a)unted him all these years will go away. But his death will not happen until sometime long after he assimilates all that forward-looking technology that has fallen into their laps.

“Is it possible that the deflector shield was meant to protect us from Korean nukes?” Gus wonders.

“Unlikely since it came too late. We aren’t going to back-down from our program, not now,” Roy speculates. “Someone, maybe your Mom/hallucination, wants us to have this material and hopes that we won’t let it go to waste.”

“I’ve already outfitted SEx with the disruptor weapon, it was relatively easy,” Fitch assures. “It gloms onto the molecular stabilizer, the same concept in reverse.”

It’s like we’re getting dragged into the future. If not for these enhancements, Gus and Deke are goners, SOL would be a pie-in-the-sky do-over and we’d be scared into a corner – frozen stiff on this merry mess of a planet.”

Gus & Co. are haunted by that empty pilot’s seat aboard the ship about which they ruminate. Is Deke really a goner and was that ⃝    apparition he saw on the way back from the Sun for real?


The NULL Solution =

Episode 43


page 48

The NULL Solution = Episode 31

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The NULL Solution = Episode 31

…”Lorgan it shall be,” which is how Roy labels it in the spacelog, Stardates 2030.09 and 2052.50…

Gus points at the video recording, “You can see the reflection of SEx!”

“That doesn’t make sense. Telemetry puts that thing at just under 500,000 kms away. The only reflection should be the Sun,” reasons Roy.

“Take a look at Tycho’s spacelog shot of Mars’ magnetosphere, there is Deimos in the background.”

“That thing is 5x bigger!”

“Higher.”

“10x?”

“90 km. What reflection do you see?”

Tycho.”

“Exactly!”

“Now that is freaky. We should be seeing the moonIt seems our “friend” defies physical conventions.”

To that end, a thoughtful Gus gives it a name, “My dad would call it, Lorgan.”

“Please use that in a sentence.”

“I’ve made it a noun. As a Scottish Gaelic verb it would be ‘leaves a mark’.”

Lorgan was also a bad-guy-slave-master in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, if my memory serves, but we’ll go with your heritage language version. And when did you take that up, by the way?”

“I have my Aunt Sassy McKinney to thank for that.  Me & Deke spent a summer learning it, as punishment for heading for the hills every time she came to visit.” He hearkens back to a much simpler time, when they were a nuclear family; together & grounded.

Lorgan it shall be,” which is how he labels it in the spacelog, Stardates 2030.09 and 2052.50For what is worth. Who knows where or when it will ever turn up again?”

“For what is worth, Lorgan is weightless. It doesn’t register on the density sensors. Is it real or our just a figment?”

“What we see with our eyes or with Cameras and Spacelogs cannot all be wrong.” Roy decides to bring another set of experienced eyes to the party. “I want Fletcher Fitch to take a gander. He knows more about satellites than anyone on this planet.”

The engineering wiz obliges.

“So do you think it’s a satellite?” asks Roy.

Gus may have given it a name, but falls short of defining it.

“I’ve got nothing.” Fitch has nothing.

Neither does Roy. “I don’t have a clue what Lorgan is or isn’t, but we are going to keep this under our helmets, okay? For now, let’s take a look around the solar system before we shut things down for the day.”

What a day it has been. Gus is back and safe. Roy himself is not confined to a hospital bed, while hearing yet another story about 2 of the missing McKinneys.

Tonight is Triple-fudge Delight ice cream night at the Crippen residence.

Life is good to them… so far.


The NULL Solution =

The Good Life by Jean Groberg

Episode 31


page 35

The NULL Solution = Episode 18

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The NULL Solution = Episode 18

…For the first time in all his born days, Roy expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong 93,000,000 miles out in space?”…

Roy Crippen, beloved #48, sits back on a chair in his personal space at the Galveston Launch Facility. He had orchestrated the great theater for this day. Everything was going just fine until it wasn’t. What started as a way to hide a missing McKinney has rapidly descended into panic on his part.

Human nature’s default reaction is to think the worst. ‘Gus will not be coming back.’ His lone mistake was placing a time-frame on the return of the Stellar Explorer.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is there is also a secret.

He uses whatever mission hook-ups he has at his disposal to search for Gus, or that shiny spheroid his stepson was speaking of, up until there was the blaring sound of silence.

The Sun is making a better door than a window; looking directly at it damages the cornea, looking around it is tough, looking through it is impossible.

Gus’ last words rattle around his brain, “I’m back in control of SEx, slowing down to get a closer look. I can tell you one thing, somebody made this thing…”

For the first time in all his born days, he expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong that far out in space?”

  1. 10 -Space Colony 1 destroyed √
  2. 45 -Sampson & Celeste gone √
  3. 25 -Deke McKinney absent √
  4. 50 -Gus & Stellar Explorer missing (possibly, maybe) √

He would prefer not assuming the worst, but that is an imposing list of failures that stares him in the face, even though the facts about the first 3 are not known to him or anyone else on Earth. That is zero comfort when comfort is needed ASAP.

Otherwise in great health, President Roy’s heart gives in to the mounting stress.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is in it now is a secret.

That he lies prostrate on the floor this day is an unintended consequence.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 18


page 23

The NULL Solution = Episode 15

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The NULL Solution = Episode 15

…“But that unusual signature is coming from Earth’s general direction.” Any happening over toward “home” is a cause for Sampson McKinney to pause…

–In a cruel twinkle from a faraway star, instead of Gus being late for a date, he mysteriously drops from the near-solar grid.–

From Earth’s angle, there is no tangible sign of the fastest spacecraft this side of the Orion Nebula. It’s hard to trust the raw physics and the unfamiliar position of Stellar Explorer; there is no dark side of the Sun.

This cannot be happening. The Space Family McKinney is an enigma bound by misfortune.

Once again, Roy Crippen is left grasping for a handful of nothing.

“I’m picking up an odd object signature,” sensors on the Eridanian craft wouldn’t lie to Sammy Mac.

The fuss that a space vehicle makes, hurtling at multiple the speed of light, is quite noteworthy. In comparison the fastest recorded asteroid travels at the relative snail’s pace of 68K miles per hour. There is no such thing as skulking about unnoticed, as it slices thru time and space.

“Odd how?” asks Deke .

Though a quick, study Sampson is a SOL newbie and some of Defender’s instruments make his head hurt, “It’s phasing in and out. I would consider it an illusion, if it weren’t Image result for tick tock gifso darn consistent… and then it isn’t.” Tick tock, “Now it’s gone.”

“We cannot linger with that now. We must contact the Seljuk as soon as we are able.” Laser-like focus is an Eridanian attribute. Cerella’s civilization is paralyzed, the answers they seek are logistically polar opposite in this quadrant and they are gobbling up space in that civilization’s own ship.

“But that unusual signature is coming from Earth’s general direction.” Any happening over toward “home” is a cause for pause.

“Did you think that Crip wouldn’t test out their new SOL technology, did you?” Deke is keenly aware that his younger brother would likely be piloting any SOL vehicle from his home planet… unless those Koreans got hold of {ripped-off} the tech. They’re at a loss to explain.

They don’t see what Gus is seeing from with a bird’s eye view.


The NULL Solution =

Bird’s Eye View by Kyle L. Poirier,

Episode 15


page 21

The NULL Solution = Episode 14

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The NULL Solution = Episode 14

…there is a shiny spheroid here, close enough to the Sun that it should be melting to its core…

… as a propaganda video put together by Bassett’s people is keeping everyone occupied, Roy is getting unexpected feedback from back in SOL Control.

“Gus isn’t making the turn.”

A simple ‘What?’ will not do. He flees the stage like the prune juice he had for breakfast had suddenly done its job. He commandeers a security hovercraft to hasten his presence where it counts most. Is Gus incapacitated? That’s his stepson out there about 80 million miles + rising. The possibilities are endless.

Once at the interspace communication cube, he tries to get some answers. “Are you there, Gus?”

After a few seconds, he repeats the simple request.

“Yes Roy, I’m here. This thing seems to have a mind of its own.  I checked my heading and it wants to go to other side of the galaxy or somewhere thereabouts.”

“Override the auto-nav. Even at SOL you’re in no man’s land. This mission is over, get back here STAT.”

There are multiple factors at work here.

“I am exactly on the other side of the sun… and there is a shiny spheroid here, close enough that it should be melting to its core!”

Mercury by Maddy P. from Palmcrest Elementary

“Could that be Mercury, we haven’t looked at it much since Messenger back in 20-teens?”

“Negative on Mercury, I passed that hotspot in a flash 5 million miles ago.” Human beings are so adaptable. “I’m back in control of SEx, slowing down to get a closer look. I can tell you one thing, somebody made this thing. It ain’t no run-of-the-mill planetoid.”

“Make sure you get some selfies of that thing and head back,” That is the good news. The bad news, “I know it’s a bitch, being Saturday and all, but land over at Osceola AFB instead… I got them believing Deke is with you.”

There is no response from an astronaut who is anxious to get back to wife Mindy and a carefully planned, long overdue date-night…


The NULL Solution =

Episode 14


page 20

The NULL Solution = Episode 11

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The NULL Solution = Episode 11

Chapter Two

Free at Last

…“Yahoo!!!” What is this excitement all about? It’s only the absolute biggest thrill, EVER…

 

“There is something about the fresh air of deep space.” Sammy Mac cannot contain himself.

“There is no breathable air in space Father McKinney.” Cerella still hasn’t mastered the subtleties of obtuse human references.

“That’s the trouble with your spacecraft design… not enough windows! I like to see where I’m going.”

“You are going 15° mark 7.” The mismatched trio is about to shift gears, so-to-speak.

“We are skirting the Orion Nebula, Dad. You may want to sit down and close your eyes when we engage the TSF, I know that I am.”

Time-Space-Fold technology will scramble the most stable of molecules. In order to traverse light-year chunks of open cosmos, one needs to challenge the fabric of time itself. It is one thing to increase speed by a nearly infinite factor, it is another to compress the future, like the bellows of an accordion.

Even the Eridanian Princess is displaying signs of anticipation. It’s not like she has piloted a 1000 year old machine before. She is as tense as her refined race will allow her, yet experiencing excitement. What is this excitement? It’s only an ancient contraption after all.

Sampson, on the other hand, has reliable memories of spending 5 years aboard a 4500 year old Eridanian pre-TSF craft. “Yahoo!!!” What is this excitement all about? It’s only the absolute biggest thrill, ever!

“This is cool Dad!” The Defender may not have many windows to see out, but it does have real-time sensors that give the sensation of motion. Deke McKinney is aware of how rare an experience this is.

“It will take us a cycle or two before we reach the Seljuk. In the meantime, we need to scan all parsecs for extraordinary activity of any kind. Do not rule out anything, especially any sign that we are being targeted by long-range sensors,” Cerella points to the array of lights to the left of navigation.

“We are moving so fast, I don’t see how we could be tracked.”

“The opposite is true Father McKinney.”

In a static universe, other than the unremitting expansion, they represent a fleeting wisp in the corner of the eye of anyone who has them open.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 11


page 17